Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes)

As a devout Sherlockian (I re-read the Canon every November), I am always highly skeptical of pastiches. So I was wonderfully flabberghasted when I found myself completely immersed in this book.

Laurie King's Holmes has aged seamlessly and Mary Russell, with her youth, independence, and American upbringing is a perfect counterpoint for him. The dialogue, particularly Holmes', never seemed stilted or forced (as it often is when contemporary authors choose to resurrect him), Watson remains true to the best parts of his character, and even Mycroft is handled well.

Every setting in the book, from Oxford to Palestine, is beautifully painted with broad strokes. The narrative style pulls the reader in in a way that reminded vaguely of Chaim Potak or Steinbeck.

I was hoping to enjoy this book, though I did not expect to-- I knew my own purist, pedantic heart might not allow it (details, misquotes, false portrayals of character...they niggle at my brain so when reading Holmes pastiches). Instead I found myself loving it and eagerly awaiting the next Holmes and Russell adventure.

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